Thursday, July 31, 2008

Watermelon and Feta Salad

This is my new favorite salad. It is so refreshing and light, making the perfect summer meal.

I added some mint leaves for an added fresh kick. You gotta try this, it really is good!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Spinach Lasagna with Prosciutto

I've always loved lasagna. I'll take it any way I can as long as there's lots of cheese!

I made this spinach lasagna a few weeks ago, but forgot to post it. It's a great alternative to the traditional meaty lasagna. It was sooo good.

Spinach Lasagna with Prosciutto
adapted from Cooks Illustrated


1 tablespoon table salt
20 ounces curly spinach (2 bags), stemmed and rinsed OR frozen spinach drained

5 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto , chopped medium
5 large shallots , minced (about 1 cup)
4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (generous 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

Cheeses and Pasta
8 ounces whole milk cottage cheese OR ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter for baking dish
12 no-boil lasagna noodles from 1 box
1 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
8 ounces Italian fontina cheese , shredded (about 2 cups)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella

1. For the spinach: Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven or stockpot over high heat; add salt and spinach, stirring until spinach is just wilted, about 5 seconds. Using skimmer or fine-mesh strainer, transfer spinach to ice water and let stand until completely cool, about 1 minute, then drain spinach and transfer to clean kitchen towel.
Wrap towel tightly around spinach to form ball and wring until dry. Chop spinach medium and set aside.

2. For the béchamel: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add the prosciutto. Sauté until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the prosciutto to a small bowl.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in the saucepan over medium heat until foaming; add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 1/2 minutes; do not brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, whisk in bay leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Whisk in Parmesan and discard bay leaves. Transfer sauce to bowl, press plastic wrap directly against surface, and set aside.

3. For the cheeses, pasta, and assembly: Blend cottage cheese, egg, and salt in food processor or blender until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place noodles in a 13- by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Use rubber spatula to distribute 1/2 cup béchamel in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce.
Stir spinach into remaining béchamel in bowl, mixing well to break up clumps of spinach (you should have about 4 cups spinach/béchamel mixture).
Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, and top with 3 more noodles. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with 1 cup fontina and half of the mozzarella, and top with 3 more noodles.
Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, followed by cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle the prosciutto evenly over the cottage cheese mixture. Finish with 3 noodles, remaining cup spinach mixture, remaining cup fontina and rest of the mozzarella.
Lightly spray large sheet foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then remove foil. Remove lasagna and adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler.
Broil lasagna until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Birthday Goodies

My lovely husband got me this amazing Kitchenaid food processor for my birthday yesterday which was a total surprise. I can't wait to get busy and make pies, pesto, and anything else you can whip up really fast!

He also got me these two great books that I've been wanting:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July Blueberry Pie

I love blueberries so much that just about every day this week I came home with a few quarts. There were 8 quarts total to be exact. I also made a blueberry crumb cake that I'll post later on. It was very yummy!

You can get fancy if you'd like and cut out festive little stars. I don't think I used the correct star cut out because the tips were a little more pointed than shown in the picture in my Martha book. You can also see a photo here which was inspired by Martha. My stars sunk a little bit!

The recipe can be found here; although, it is not the Fourth of July version.

Lemon Bow Tie Chicken

Lemon Bow tie Chicken

4 2/3 c. uncooked bow tie pasta
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp. salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. oil
15 oz can chicken broth
1/3 c. cream cheese, cubed
2-3 T. lemon juice
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped (or 1 c. frozen, thawed and squeezed dry)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning over the chicken and saute in oil for a few minutes. Add garlic. Cook until chicken is slightly browned, then remove from pan.

To the same pan add the broth, cream cheese and lemon juice. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium and cook until cream cheese is melted. Return chicken to pan and add the pasta, spinach, and salt. Cook until sauce is thickened and spinach is wilted. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

My favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh-picked strawberries. I love going to all the little farm stands where the produce is as fresh as it gets!

This strawberry tart is probably my most requested dessert to date. It is my absolute favorite!

I have made the crust with homemade pie dough, graham cracker crumbs, frozen store-bought pie dough, you name it. My favorite so far is with this recipe for a sweet tart crust.

Instead of using the currant jelly for the glaze, I use T. Marzetti Glaze for Strawberries. You could also make your own which I've also done. I like to use the Junket Danish Dessert mix.
Either way, just brush some on top of the strawberries and use as little or as much as you'd like. This tart is the best!